Monday, October 6, 2008
"First, take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Luke 6:42b
We come with many instincts as human beings. We learn early to be wary of rustling of bushes and strange noises. Some of our instincts and learned behavior are good for our survival. Some are less so. Lately, I have observed the joy and zeal with which Americans watch dancing, talent and design shows where people are judged and get voted off. Folks love criticizing, deriding and laughing at others' failure. We love dishing it out about others' lack of style, whether in personal dress or home decor. And we love to laugh at people who are not a perfect shape or weight - the embarrassing, private photos of stars we look at shamelessly as we check out at the grocery store. And yet, each of us knows how painful it is to be ridiculed, and know many who have never recovered from public humiliation. So I think, this reminder from Jesus is a good way to start the week. Jesus invites to take the time to remove the obstacles in our own life that keep us from loving God and others.
My work this week is to pay attention to all the ways I can love myself and open myself to God's love in my life, so that I don't have to distract myself by tearing into another human being. This week I want to commit to living beyond criticism, which is easy, to creativity, which is much harder. It takes time and self-examination to find creative and loving ways to offer ourselves to the world. It takes courage to take our incompleteness to God. It takes faith to trust that God will remake us, remold us and transform us into beings of love and service. It takes time to let the broken and over-criticized places heal. Removing the logs we cling to so completely is not about personal self-improvement, but instead, is about seeing clearly and being open again to love. When we criticize, we build a wall of defense that no one can get through, not even God. When we honestly and prayerfully look at our own broken hearts, we open ourselves to love. May we all have the courage to live this week, open to love.